News-Letter Nr. 541

The offensive of Goliath against David in Roraima

Displeased with the decision of the High Court of Justice, which on 11/27 upheld the executive order demarcating the indigenous lands Raposa/Serra do Sol (as described in the newsletter n. 540), the enemies of indigenous peoples in Roraima are orchestrating a broad offensive - pressuring and mobilizing a range of national and local politicians in schools, universities and, primarily, in the local press.

Their plotting goes even as far as the recently elected government, with whom they seek to conspire, even attempting to recruit the Workers-Party in order to reach their objectives. They intend at all cost to hinder the demarcation and assurance of indigenous lands. To this aim they unscrupulously and perversely raise the specter of unemployment, hunger and internationalization. To be sure, these are the same worn out arguments that they have raised in times past in their struggle against the rights of the indigenous peoples of this region. It is a fallacy that has been shown over and over again to be unfounded by reality and by the suffering and resistance of indigenous peoples. Veritably, it is a desperate attack of 'Goliath against David', during the twilight of a government completely aligned with the powerful and with national and international capital, once again sacrificing the rights and lives of the weak, among them, the indigenous peoples. From those invaded, the indigenous peoples are now considered as invaders, from border defenders to a threat to those promoting development, a hindrance to the type of development that concentrates wealth and creates exclusion.

Let us quickly look at this perverse logic that has been utilized to deny the rights of the indigenous peoples in the region.

They state that the demarcation of indigenous lands renders the state of Roraima unfeasible. Precisely the opposite is true: the lands were taken from the indigenous people and then villages, municipalities and the state were erected on these same lands to render them unfeasible.

They state that indigenous people hinder development. What type of development is being constructed in the state of Roraima? First, deceitful propaganda is spread throughout the country to attract labor to the region. Abandoned and suffering from hunger, the laborers end up leaving their lands along the Transamazon Highway and head for the goldmines, a large part of which are within indigenous lands or even in other countries. They thus consolidated one of the forms of invasion and conflict among the poor and neglected. Afterwards, large landowners came, setting up on the more productive lands, appropriating them as their greed demanded, regardless of whether they happened to be on indigenous lands or not. Under the guise of the discourse of development, an intense process of concentration of wealth is taking place in Roraima, of aggression against the environment, of ostracism and discrimination, particularly against the native peoples, the indigenous populations.

Lastly, the violent reaction of the seven largest rice farmers, and the initiative to straiten ties with the Workers’ Party, is but another of the rabid ploys of the anti-indigenous interests that want to consolidate their positions at any cost.

The Guarani present their concerns regarding rights to land to the new president of the Republik

During the assembly where leaders and chiefs of over 20 different territories of the Guarani people were gathered, a document was prepared and forwarded to the president reporting the living conditions of this people and demanding a different attitude from the next government.

The meeting took place from November 25th to 28th in the Pindoty village, at Pariquera-Açú, in the Ribeira Valley in São Paulo. The Guarani, who number some 35 thousand people spread throughout the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Mato Grosso do Sul, manifested their contempt, during the assembly, of the purchase of lands and the violence suffered by the communities that struggle to regain their territories. Regarding the establishment of small reserves, they stated: 'indigenous reserves are the same thing as birds kept in a cage, they cannot fly.'

Hopeful regarding the new government, they believe that a new period may begin, and thus concluded that it would be important to communicate their concerns and claims to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In the document, the Guarani request an audience in early 2003 to speak with the president personally.

Brasília,December 05, 2002
Indianist Missionary Council - Cimi

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